Mediation in Italy, 2013

At the end of June 2013 the Italian government issued a legislative decree providing urgent measures that also involve important changes to the Italian litigation system. The aim of the decree is to simplify the administrative and regulatory framework, as well as to shorten the duration of civil proceedings, reducing the high level of civil litigation and promoting the use ADR methods. This decree reverses a ruling in October 2012, where the Italian Constitutional Court quashed compulsory mediation finding that by enacting the law, the government had exceeded the scope of both the Mediation Directive and Law 69/2009, which empowered the government to adopt a legislative decree introducing administered mediation procedures. 
Consequently, mandatory mediation has been reintroduced for a wide range of reserved matters such as: tenancy in common (eg, in condominiums); real property rights; division of assets; inheritance; family estates; leases of real property and of going concerns; gratuitous loans for use; medical liability; defamation in the press and other media; and insurance, banking and other financial agreements.
When mandatory mediation was originally introduced in 2011, notable results were brought to light, with more than 220.000 mediations started and with a settling rate of nearly 50% when both parties participated. This is why the Italian Government pushed for a return to mandatory mediation. 
This was an effort to eliminate some of the current backlog of disputes pending before Italian Courts, putting forward a revised policy which takes into account at least part of the criticisms that have been made in an obvious solution. Amongst other things, the new discipline allows the litigants to opt-out from the trial at a nominal cost.

The Decree has been converted into a law by the Parliament and it will enter into force by the end of September. If successful, this model could be adopted by other EU member states, which is why mediation in Italy is now under close surveillance.

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